Scientists say fossil fuels must go untapped

Categories: News
Published on: January 7, 2015

National Geographic / Christina Nunez / 07 January 2015

coal burning plants in distanceCanada’s tar sands need to stay in the ground, the oil beneath the Arctic has to remain under the sea, and most of the world’s coal must be left untouched in order to prevent global temperatures from rising more than 2°C, a study released Wednesday says.

The research, unlike other bleak assessments of the world’s climate predicament, zeroes in on which regions should halt their production of coal, oil, and gas—and by how much. It comes ahead of climate talks in Paris later this year that aim to broker a new global accord to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

These emissions must remain within a “carbon budget” of about 1,100 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide by 2050 to meet the internationally accepted goal of limiting the rise in temperatures to 2°C (3.6°F) above preindustrial levels, according to the United Nations-led Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. To do that, countries must slash their use of fossil fuels.


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